Flipkart walks away from the ongoing discussions with Airtel Zero, commits to net neutrality

14th Apr 2015
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After receiving a huge backlash on social media for the ongoing discussion on partnership with Airtel's platform Airtel Zero, Flipkart has announced to walk out of it. It all started a week ago when the news of Flipkart's possible participation on Airtel Zero platform was shared. This resulted in massive criticism of the decision and a part of audience even took on to the campaign to give low ratings to Flipkart app on play store.


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Earlier, Co-founder Sachin Bansal has been actively sharing his opinion on net neutrality debate via twitter.

Throughout this debate, Flipkart's CTO Amod Malviya has taken a firm stand in favor of net neutrality.

Responding to our queries about Flipkart's stand on net neutrality, a spokesperson of the company said,

We at Flipkart have always strongly believed in the concept of net neutrality, for we exist because of the Internet.

The company accepted that over the past few days, there has been a great amount of debate, both internally and externally, on the topic of zero rating, which gave them a deeper understanding of the implications. The company's spokesperson said,

After reviewing implications of zero rating deeply, we reached the conclusion that it doesn't meet our standards of net neutrality and violates the principles that we stand for. We have decided to to walk away from the ongoing discussions with Airtel for their platform Airtel Zero. Spokesperson further added:

  • We will be committing ourselves to the larger cause of Net Neutrality in India.
  • We will be internally discussing over the next few days, the details of actions we will take to support the cause.

Flipkart has assured that they will be working towards ensuring that the spirit of net neutrality is upheld and applied equally to all companies in India irrespective of the size or the service being offered so that there is absolutely no discrimination whatsoever.

Recently Babajob's CEO Sean Blagsvedt has also shared why they're on internet.org.

Earlier, Airtel came into its defense for the Airtel Zero platform. They shared that within 5 days of launch they had 150 startups contacting them to know more about the platform. Srini Gopalan, Director, Consumer Business, Bharti Airtel said,

There is also a high level of misinformation surrounding the product, which is not surprising since the very concept of Net Neutrality is a bit misunderstood. Airtel Zero provides universal access and is free for all our customers. Customers have the choice to decide whether they want to come there or not.
Today, when a consumer downloads a new app and uses it for a day, the total amount of data consumed is roughly about 20-30 MB. Assuming a price of Rs. 1/MB of free data, this will translate to Rs. 20 for the start-up.Compared to this, the average cost of marketing digitally through large media/ internet companies is about INR 50 to 300 per download. So, this platform will actually make it cheaper for small companies to gain distribution as well as visibility.
There is no difference in speed to access various apps, whether they are on Airtel Zero or not. As a concept Airtel Zero has nothing to do with Net Neutrality. It is free for each and every customer and offers the same speed to all. It charges the same amount to each company for data without any discrimination.

Srini said that Airtel Zero will also drive innovation in the internet and mobile app space by providing a cost-effective and non-discriminatory platform, in particular, to smaller companies.


Also read:

The Airtel Zero idea: Splitting India’s Internet into many Internets

The Net was born free, but telcos TRAIng hard to put it in chains

Is Net Neutrality more important than internet access? Why Babajob is on Internet.org


Watch this video to understand Net Neutrality in a simplified manner.


Disclaimer: Internet.org is an advertiser on YourStory. Facebook and Reliance Communications have partnered to bring Internet.org to India. 

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